Mindful Eating & Eating with Others

Food often brings people together, and mindful eating is a great tool to help you gain control of your eating habits. Check out this section to learn about how to make eating an even more enjoyable experience.

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It’s important to focus on your food and your body’s cues as you eat.  Eating mindfully will help you listen to your body’s signals and to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.  It will also help you enjoy your food, and the experience of eating.

Try out this mindful eating tip:

“When you’re eating, try to only do that – nothing else. Notice the colours, shapes and textures of your food – notice the smells and how each bite tastes in your mouth. And try listening to the sounds you make as you eat or drink. Not only is this a great way to practice mindfulness, it’ll also help you enjoy your food even more.”

Many things can affect when you feel hungry and when you feel full. This can include:

  • Your body’s signals
  • The sight, smell and availability of food
  • Your emotional state, mood and feelings, such as:
    • Stress
    • Fatigue
    • Boredom

Eating for reasons other than your body’s signals may cause overeating.  If you listen to and follow your feelings of hunger and fullness, it can help you decide when and how much to eat.

Use these ideas to recognize hunger and fullness:

  • Ask yourself if you are really hungry
  • Remember that emotional eating can affect your food and eating choices
  • Pay attention to feelings of fullness to help you know when you have had enough food to eat
  • Give your body time to digest and feel full before deciding to have seconds
  • Notice where and when you are eating – remember that you may be eating because food is available, not because you are hungry

Distracted Eating

Eating while you do something else like watching television or working can cause you to eat more than you need. So can eating while you are in a hurry or distracted. Slow down and enjoy your food to help you control your intake.

After you start eating, it takes about 20 minutes before the brain begins to start sending out the “I’m full” signal. If you are hurrying or not paying attention, it’s easy to miss this signal and keep eating. Mindful eating will help you notice your body’s signals, and eat at a pace that is best for you.

If you are interested in learning more about mindful eating habits, visit Canada’s Food Guide. More information about mindfulness is also available here.

The Benefits of Eating Together

Enjoy healthy foods with family, friends, neighbours or co-workers. It’s a great way to connect and add enjoyment to your life.

By eating with others you can:

  • Have good times together
  • Share food traditions, across generations and cultures
  • Explore new healthy foods that you might not normally try

Food is often a main part of celebrations and special events. But, eating with others doesn’t have to be saved for special events.

Make time to enjoy meals with others. We often get so busy at work, school and home that we push aside plans for meals with others.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Have lunch with a co-worker at work or friend at school
  • Plan a breakfast date with friends
  • Start a regular community meal with your neighbours
  • Plan a weekly dinner with family members or friends
  • Start a dinner party circle with friends where everyone takes a turn hosting
  • Make plans to try a new restaurant with a friend or co-worker. Explore ways to continue eating healthy even while out by ordering a salad without the dressing, choosing whole wheat over white flour and avoiding fried foods.

When you eat with others, it’s important to remember to take your time – don’t feel the need to rush. Enjoy your food and being together. Put away cell phones, electronics, TV and other distractions. That will help you be mindful of your food choices. Use this time as a chance to connect: talk to those around you and share what is going on in everyone’s life.

What Next?

Want to explore and learn more? Here are a couple options that will help you.